It feels like everyone needs a bit of cheering up during the current coronavirus lockdown. For Ian Milburn, he made putting a smile on people’s faces during lockdown his mission.

Ian, who runs IM Events in Carlisle, has, along with his wife Steph, been hard at work the past couple of weeks preparing a night of online bingo - with both locals and those far afield signed up to take part.

A fortnight ago, Ian and Steph had organised another night of virtual “stand-up” bingo, with people from as far away as Canada taking part.

The evening’s entertainment was also raising funds for the North Cumbria Integrated Care NHS Trust charity pot, and managed to net more than £3,300.

Ian, 48, said it was nice to be able to show the NHS how grateful the community is for all it is doing throughout the coronavirus outbreak.

“There’s so many others doing so much, you want to try and do something to help,” Ian said.

He hopes to be able to raise even more with this Saturday’s virtual event - which is now completely sold out.

As well as being able to raise funds for the NHS in north Cumbria, Ian said it meant a lot to him to be able to “put a smile on everybody’s face”,

Ian, who works full time in sales alongside running IM Events, is a patron at Carlisle Youth Zone as well as a frequent supporter of Eden Valley Hospice.

He will also be known to many as the organiser of popular running event The Carlisle Half Marathon.

IM Events has brought some big names in British sport to Cumbria, from Chris Eubank to Kevin Keegan to Tyson Fury.

Tyson Fury’s dad was in fact due to be the feature at an event run by Ian this Saturday, though this and many others will have to be rearranged.

“The last three months were going to be the busiest I’d ever had, literally something every weekend,” he said.

“There were about 16 events due to take place that we’re going to have to look to rearrange.”

Instead, this Saturday Ian will be leading an evening of bingo online from his kitchen, assisted by his wife Steph, who, as an administrator at Inglewood School, has been turning her expertise towards helping Ian with the logistical challenge of running a bingo event in cyberspace.

Ian is looking forward to providing an evening of entertainment to those both near and afar again this weekend.

“This time we’ve got people from as far away as Thailand and Australia,” he said.

“It’s been absolutely amazing.”